Thinking About Kindness

Thinking about kindness this morning. Thinking about the who, what, why. and when of it.

Who? I’m thinking I need to be showing kindness to everyone, without distinction. Kindness shouldn’t just be shown to people who belong to the right political party, or religion, or ethnicity, or gender, or whatever. Kindness should be shown to everyone, regardless of (fill in the blank). And yes, it should even be shown to (fill in the blank).

What does kindness look like? I’m thinking it’s mostly seen in the little things – in a smile, in a word of encouragement and appreciation, holding the door open for the person behind you, slowing down so a car can merge in front of you, buying someone a cocoa or a coffee on a cold day, saying hi to a stranger who looks in need of a friendly greeting.

Why should we be kind? Because, really, kindness is the basis for whatever is moral and ethical, isn’t it? You’re not going to cheat, steal, or murder when you’re kind.

When should we be kind? Well. Always, right? Kindness shouldn’t be withheld until it’s been “earned.” Kindness shouldn’t come with any expectation or agenda at all.

So. That’s what I’m thinking about this morning.

 

 “God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love. Lavish it upon the poor, where it is very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of all upon your equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we each do least of all. There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure. Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving pleasure.”
– Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

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A Valentine for Chip

Several years ago I received a message through another Christian Scientist from a man in Florida named Chip, who had just finished reading my book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist. Chip wrote: “…I was searching high and low to find an address or way to find Karen for having the courage to express her own unique identity as Love’s reflection, and in doing so, to echo a resounding ‘Yes’ to my own inner sense of Love’s direction in my life.”

Chip’s kind words meant a lot to me, and I wrote him back right away to thank him. And so began our friendship. 🙂

When I first met Chip he had been a registered medical nurse for 28 years, and had been with his partner  for “almost as long.” As a medical nurse and a gay man he had “found roadblocks” in feeling closer to the Christian Science community.  He said, “…but you know, I just really love to be with folks who are making an effort to be closer to God Who is All Good and All Love!”

Chip’s friendship over the last several years has been a wonderful blessing to me. He always seems to know when I most need an encouraging word, a bit of email inspiration, and a cheering picture of flowers or pets or his family.

I have not (yet) met Chip in the person. But I know him. I know his patients are blest to have him in their lives  – his kindness and caring come through in every word he writes me. I know his family and friends and partner are blest to have him in THEIR lives, too. And I know I am blest to have him in mine.

Today I received a Valentine greeting from Chip – flowers and love.

As Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health, “Love is reflected in love.” My friend, Chip, is proof of that.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Chip! May this day and every day be filled with everything good for you and yours!

xoxoxoxo

Karen